“It’s just Russians who are buying them,” Andrei, 33, agrees. “Europeans are mostly buying matryoshki and [traditional square-shaped hats] ushanki. They also like communist symbols, which are particularly popular among Latin Americans.”
As teams have been eliminated and fans have returned home, however, the souvenir rush has noticeably weakened, staff said.
At her stall, Svetlana, 47, seemed unfazed — if a little left out — by the kokoshnik craze. She had traveled from Nolinsk, a city more than 1000 kilometers away, to sell matryoshki, and nothing else. “We’ve seen them do well in other stalls,” she added, glancing sideways at her neighbors.
While the kokoshnik is all the rage now, however, the matryoshka is proven gold year-round. “This has been one of our best ever seasons,” she said. “It’s been a miracle.”
Includes reporting by Anton Muratov.